South Shore’s filmmakers hard at work |

South Shore’s filmmakers hard at work

Dylan Silver
Dylan Silver / Tahoe Daily Tribune

These days, with GoPro cameras, cheap laptops, and YouTube, almost anyone can be a filmmaker. But to produce a high-quality film worth worldwide attention, it takes a lot of work.

Three filmmakers in South Lake Tahoe have been grinding away at different projects, each with their own subject and technique.

Photographer Ian Ruhter and South Lake Tahoe resident Lane Power recently released their short documentary “Silver & Light,” which chronicles Ruhter’s efforts to create the largest photos ever made using the early development technique known as the Collodion wet plate process.

The 10-minute video has gone viral and had nearly 300,000 views by Thursday.

“It’s been crazy,” Ruhter said. “We’ve gotten calls from TV producers in L.A.”

“I think people are responding to it because everyone wants to follow their dreams,” he added.

Ruhter and Power, along with other helpers spent nearly a year filming and editing the project. So far, the published video has caught the attention of ESPN, and numerous photo blogs. The Santa Barbara Museum of Modern Art has offered to buy the wet plate prints Ruhter is shown making in the film, he said.

Filmmaker Mike Wier is midway through his latest project, an environmental sports documentary titled “Cali Rush.”

The full-length movie turns the lens on athletes who, as Wier puts it, seek a deeper appreciation of nature through outdoor activities. For the flick, Wier has filmed surfing, whitewater rafting, snowboarding, flyfishing and a handful of other sports. He’s currently seeking funding through

Wier has produced several other films, including flyfishing documentaries Soul Fish 1 and 2 and a short about the effort to preserve the Mokelumne River. His favorite subject to shoot is wildlife, he said.

“It’s like hunting. You’ve got to get close to them, to be stealthy,” Wier said. “Instead of killing them, you’re capturing a piece of their personality. That helps people understand them and want to protect them.”

Anthony Cupaiuolo of First Tracks Productions has been busy producing a variety of short videos for organizations and agencies ranging from the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority to SkiDUCK and Burton Snowboards.

“It’s been fun,” Cupaiuolo said. “I’ve gotten a chance to showcase the area and show people some stuff they’ve never seen before.”

Cupaiuolo’s shots of skiing and snowboarding have been featured in Warren Miller productions and the Ski Channel. After 11 years of making films, he’s still content with the Lake Tahoe area.

“The likelihood of making it big and rich in a mountain town is pretty small,” he said. “But, honestly, I’d rather live here and make the content we’re making than move to L.A.”

After moving to Southern California, Ruhter returned to the area to film and edit “Silver & Light” with Power.

“I had a tremendous amount of support in Lake Tahoe,” he said.

Wier has found plenty to point his camera at in the Lake Tahoe area.

“It’s a good home base for me because we’re surrounded by pristine wilderness and wild lands,” he said. “It just kind of resonates with the lifestyle I like to live.”

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